The Iron Witch is a strange book, in that all it's flaws are balanced out by positives to leave you with a distinctly average book. For example: The fact that It's as shallow as a puddle of gnat wee is balanced by the fact that it's damn short.
One flaw that has been massively overstated by a lot of reviews I have read of this book is its lack of originality. My question is this, does everything have to be original? No, this book as no new ideas and the characters are pretty cliched but that does't stop it being enjoyable. It's called the Katy Perry effect, (called that by me any way). Her music is about as original as the sun rising in the east, yet millions flock to her gigs and illegally download her music.
The iron witch follows Donna, a girl labeled freak, and who lost her parents at a young age. As far as YA heroins go that's about as well qualified as you can get. She's likeable enough I guess, she does at least recognise when she's being a self pitying goon, unlike some heroins (cough Bella cough) who just moan at us until our ears bleed.
The prerequisite slightly otherworldly love interest role is fulfilled by Xan. He's probably the most interesting character in the story, slightly tragic, relatable, and not a sparkly vampire.
Then we've got Nav. Oh dear. I dislike Nav, his only reason for existing is to set up a love triangle in the second book. I will gladly eat those words if the author avoids the overdone love triangle, but I just don't see it happening. Apart from the cynical love triangle bait that he is, I suppose I've read worse best friend characters. I think Nav would have been better as a girl though, that way we could avoid all temptation of a love triangle in future books and, well, I just think the best friend role would be better filled by a girl.
The plot is not especially twisty, in fact, it's dead straight. I've seen planks of wood with more twists. But that's not necessarily a bad thing either, again, the book's length negates the need for excessive plot twists. The characters are given a hurdle, and 300 pages in which to jump it, that's okay.
One thing I do like is that there's a same sex relationship in there. Granted, it's between two creepy old men, but it's still a step in the right direction as it's something YA fiction avoids like the plague.
Finally, I'm not one for judging a book by its cover, but I really like the cover art, I don't know why, I just do.
So, wrapping up, is The Iron Witch wort your time and money? I think so, if you're into the whole YA supernatural thing and you go into it with expectations firmly under control. This book is a nice distraction and is short enough to not outstay its welcome. It's not going to revolutionise the genre and there are certainly better books around. But there are worse books too.
- Library Binding: 299 pages
- Publisher: Turtleback; Turtleback Scho. edition (8 February 2011)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0606234861
- ISBN-13: 978-0606234863
- Product Dimensions: 19.8 x 13 x 2.3 cm
- Boxed-product Weight: 249 g
- Customer Reviews: 27 customer ratings